Police say fired employee tried to burn down Lakewood business as revenge

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TOMS RIVER, NJ – On January 19, 2022, Jorge Euxaque-Ballesteros, 25, of Toms River, was charged with Aggravated Arson in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:17-1a(2), and Burglary in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:18-2a(1), in connection with an incident that occurred in Lakewood Township on January 19, 2022.

On January 19, 2022, at approximately 2:00 a.m., Officers from the Lakewood Township Police Department and Lakewood Township Fire Department were dispatched to a business on Cross Street in reference to a sprinkler system alarm.  Firefighters were able to extinguish a fire in the basement of the business.  An investigation conducted by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Arson Squad, Ocean County Fire Marshal’s Office, Lakewood Township Police Department Detective Bureau, and Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit, determined that the cause of the fire was incendiary by an unknown person using an open flame to ignite cardboard and paper in the basement.  Subsequent investigation revealed that Euxaque-Ballesteros – a former employee of the business who was recently terminated – was responsible for setting the fire.

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Later in the day, Euxaque-Ballesteros was taken into custody in Toms River by Detectives from the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Arson Squad and Lakewood Police Department.  He was transported to Lakewood Police Headquarters, processed, and is currently lodged in the Ocean County Jail pending a detention hearing.

Prosecutor Billhimer commends the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Arson Squad, Ocean County Fire Marshal’s Office, Lakewood Township Police Department, Lakewood Township Police Department Detective Bureau, Toms River Township Police Department, and Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit, for their cooperative assistance in connection with this investigation.

The charges referenced above are merely accusations and the press and public are reminded that all defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.